I was reminded of an invaluable #fieldrecording skill when out scoping locations this week. I found this large scale metal recyclers in Seaview, and walked into their office to ask if there was any way I could access this mountain of metal to record sounds or buy a few props?
THEM: “I’m sorry, we’re corporate and don’t sell to the public. And health & safety regulations mean we can’t let you on the property”
ME: “Oh thats a shame… Hey so what happens to all of this metal anyway?”
THEM: “A ship is arriving September 2nd, so it will all be taken away for recycling”
ME: You don’t say!!
THEM: “We do say!”
ME: So if I turn up on September 2nd and set my microphones up just outside your boundary, I will get to hear that entire mountain be loaded and removed??
THEM: “Um… yes that is correct”
ME: See you then!
Refusing to take no for an answer!
Had I not persevered and asked that one extra question, I would have gone home thinking what a missed opportunity it was. But now I can prepare, and will likely go record a few days before incase they start loading early, and to find the best location. And I will stalk the Marine Traffic website days before, to identify the ship and its arrival date. But all of this will only be possible due to persevering and asking the right question! And the right question is one that they cannot say no to!
But the next skill required?
Based on the above info I loaded up my car with all my recording gear & camera and visited the site last Thursday, thinking they might be preparing for loading… But there was very little activity.
Friday September 2nd arrived and same scenario! Very little activity. Was the ship late? Were they kidding me?
Monday 5th I revisit and they are doing some work in the back of the yard, so I set up my mics and record what I can… I don’t hear anything extraordinary, but it was useful as a test run:
Notice in the photo above, none of my mic stands are actually touching the ground! They are functioning as a counter weight to keep mic mics sitting on top of the fence. But framing & focusing the camera was impossible. I came home at the end of the day and the recordings sounded better, but the video was not great.
Tuesday 6th I am better prepared!
Notice my little stepladder! Standing on it I could clearly see over the fence and as luck (aka perseverance) would have it, a big truck was being loaded almost directly in front of my microphones!!
It would take them about 15minutes to load each truck, and the first few dumps into the empty bin sounded HUGE!!! While the truck was away unloading into the ship, I thought the claw might take a break… But no, he started making metal avalanches in prep for the next truck to arrive!
So today I am heading off for another recording session as I figure they have another day or two of work to move the entire mountain. And now that I have my setup safely organised, I’m going to add the Sanken CUX100K mics to the 8040×2 and 8020×2 that I have been using!
Thank Jah for 32bit float!!
I shot some XPAN from my little stepladder too